At lunch after church this afternoon Mom mentioned that some good friends of ours had heard from their son, John - his first phone call home from Basic Training.
I got watery eyed and a bit choked up, and Mary almost started to laugh. "Bethany, it has been 9 years. How in the world can that still make you cry?"
They weren't tears of sadness, simply tears of remembrance. Sometimes an emotion is so strong it can't help but overflow just a little.
Let me take you back.
It was December 25, 2001. Christmas Day. We had been married for 6 months and 2 days. I couldn't bear to leave my little apartment, just in case he called, so my family crammed themselves in there to celebrate with me for awhile. But eventually we headed back to their house and found, waiting on their answering machine, his very first call from Basic Training. He had assumed, correctly, that I would want to be with them for Christmas since he was away. He just didn't know they would come to me.
I remember being so heartbroken that I had missed my chance to talk to him, to encourage him, to make sure he was staying strong in his faith and confidence. To tell him that I loved him.
(Why didn't he call my cell was the question Mom asked while we were remembering this afternoon - surely we had one by this time? Perhaps we had very few minutes and only used it for emergencies? Maybe I didn't keep it on me on a regular basis yet? Cell phones were still not "attached at the hip" like they are now. Who knows. That is not one of the memories that stands out in my mind.)
He left me his address, and I wrote him that very night. I had already written him pages and pages, so was relieved to finally have someplace to send them. I wonder if he has ever read all of those letters. Probably not. He certainly didn't have time in Basic training. I have the clarity of mind to know that now, but at the time I only knew that I had to share every moment with him. We were still newlyweds, quite literally.
I think I may have to dig those letters out and read them. What a trip down memory lane it would be to feel those feelings again. And the letters from him - those are priceless. Not quite as word filled, but each word can be felt to the bottom of my toes.
Yes - thinking about that first phone call brought back lots of memories. A few watery eyes. And a reminder that after the first there always comes a second, and then a third - and it gets easier, at least for the moment.
Tomorrow is a first again. Andy has his PT test at 0500. He should know by noon if he is in this next class rotation. He said that perhaps not hearing from him is what I should hope for, as that will mean he is busy moving into the proper dormitory and getting set into the new schedule. He has no idea when he will have free time again. He'll call when he can.
So, tomorrow begins a new wait, for another first phone call.
But it always comes. And now I have a cell phone, attached at the hip. I'm not missing one again, no sir, not me!
Who writes this stuff?
- I am happily married to an amazing military man who spent 9 years enlisted and is now an Officer in the US Army. We have two amazing boys who are not so little any more! They still infuse every moment of every day with creativity and energy, and make my life an adventure. I was educated at home, and am now teaching our children - second generation homeschoolers! I try every day to become more like Jesus Christ, and to love like HE does. If you want you can try and catch me at firstname.lastname@example.org